System Performance

Although we saw the announcement of some 11th generation Intel Core “H-Series” processors at CES 2021 based on their newest Tiger Lake platform, Intel has yet to roll out those chips. So the Comet Lake platform remains Intel's leading platform for high-end laptops, which Razer is leveraging here in the Razer Blade 15.

On the CPU side, Razer offers only two options. The Base model, which we are reviewing today, features the Core i7-10750H processor, which is six cores, twelve threads, and a peak boost turbo of 5.0 GHz. The Advanced model steps up to the Core i7-10875H, which is eight cores, sixteen threads, and a slightly higher maximum boost of 5.1 GHz. Some will likely lament the lack of an AMD offering, but that would require a complete re-engineering of the product, which would be a significant undertaking, especially since the device leverages NVIDIA’s Optimus technology. Never say never of course.

Razer offers dual-channel memory with 16 GB and 32 GB options depending on if you go Basic or Advanced, and the system can support up to 64 GB of DDR4 if you want to add memory. Storage is all M.2 NVMe, with 512 GB or 1 TB options, and both the Basic and Advanced models have an open M.2 slot if you want to add more storage.

To see how the Razer Blade 15 performs, it was run through our laptop system test suite. For comparison systems, most of the other systems are dGPU based as well, with the exception of the MSI Prestige 14 Evo, which will showcase Tiger Lake vs Comet Lake.

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 - Essentials

PCMark 10 - Productivity

PCMark 10 - Digital Content Creation

PCMark 10 - Overall

UL’s PCMark 10 is a full-system benchmarking suite, with different sub-test categories testing different aspects of the system. CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage all play a part in the overall score. The Razer Blade 15 nestles in about mid-pack in this configuration. The higher core counts of some of the other systems allow them to win the day.

Cinebench

Cinebench R20 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R20 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench, as a pure CPU test, really highlights how much the Skylake architecture at the heart of the Core i7-10750H is showing its age. In the single-core test, it slots in about where expected, but is demolished by the newer Willow Cove core found in the MSI Prestige, and even in multi-threaded, the Tiger Lake platform with just four cores can still slightly edge the hex-core i7 in the Razer Blade. Of course, the Advanced model of the Razer Blade 15 comes with an eight-core processor which would boost this result up a tier, but there is no denying that Comet Lake is not as competitive as it once was.

7-Zip

7-Zip Compression

7-Zip Decompression

The open-source file compression and decompression tool 7-Zip includes a built-in benchmark to show how capable a system is doing a very basic, yet necessary, task. As a newer test in our suite, we don’t have quite the back-data of all of the systems, but unlike Cinebench, the extra cores do help propel the Razer Blade ahead of the Tiger Lake based MSI Prestige.

Handbrake

Handbrake Transcoding (Software)

Handbrake Transcoding (Hardware)

Transcoding video is a task that is very demanding, and although Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA all provide fixed-function hardware to accelerate this task, software encoding tends to provide the best results. The hex-core i7-10750H has a strong showing in software transcoding, almost matching the Renoir Ryzen 5, but not quite. On the hardware side, NVIDIA’s RTX 3070 provides plenty of grunt to push past the Pascal GPUs.

Web Performance

Although a critical feature of any system, web performance is arguably the least reliable to test, as the browser itself plays such a key in performance, and yet the browsers are constantly upgraded, with some upgrades bringing better performance, while others may improve reliability at the cost of performance. For our web tests, we are using the now-default Microsoft Edge based on Chromium. The systems which have results for Speedometer 2.0 were tested with the new Chromium Edge, while the others were tested on the EdgeHTML version, so the WebXPRT 3 scores somewhat showcase the performance discrepancy with different browser scripting engines.

Speedometer 2.0

WebXPRT 3

Unlike some of the more processor-intensive scores, the Intel Core i7-10750H, which can hit a maximum turbo of 5.0 GHz, is able to outclass the AMD Ryzen in the Acer Nitro 5, but Tiger Lake is well ahead here.

Storage Performance

In an effort to showcase more real-world storage results, we have moved to using UL’s PCMark 10 suite with its new storage tests, which use actual traces from common applications, booting, and more. On the storage side, Comet Lake does not support PCIe 4.0, unlike Intel’s latest Tiger Lake, but Razer has outfitted the Razer Blade we received with Samsung's PM981 drive.

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Average Access Time

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Bandwidth

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Score

For a PCIe 3.0 setup, the PM981 performs very well in this 512 GB configuration. Other than the PCIe 4.0 drive, it is ahead in all aspects compared to any other laptop we’ve tested with this new suite.

As always, storage is somewhat of a commodity now, so there is no guarantee that any laptop will ship with the same storage, but the Razer laptops we have tested tend to come with Samsung drives, and the PM981 with its 3D TLC NAND is a strong performer.

Introduction & Design Graphics Performance – Razer Goes Ampere
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  • Brett Howse - Thursday, March 11, 2021 - link

    Yes there is an entire industry of Clevo rebrands. Cheap. Powerful. Plastic. Heavy. Reply
  • Oxygen12 - Thursday, March 11, 2021 - link

    This review surprised me a little bit.

    (I am an owner of a 2020 Razer Blade base with a max-q 2070 and OLED screen).

    I am less glowing about the battery life, in my personal use, for whatever reason, background processes etc., I never reach four hours of battery life doing standard surfing activities. It's a tradeoff I am OK with, but do wish the life was longer... the battery shouldn't be smaller than the one in the advanced. I just couldn't swing the price of the advanced package overall, although I wish I could have.

    Regarding thermals - this is the most surprising topic to me. The laptop is very performant and I like it very much, but the thing gets very hot and loud. I don't have any tests performed, I don't know if it throttles or not. I don't know how many dba it is generating - but the fan noise is very annoying at full and the laptop itself gets very, very warm. After playing Call of Duty black ops for almost 2 hours, I had to stop as the laptop itself was just getting just too warm physically to the touch and was uncomfortable to use.

    Packagewise, I think this is still the best product out there - the aluminum chasis is great, the OLED screen is outright amazing and the performance for such a small chasis is phenomenal. That said, if I could have swung it, I would have gotten the advanced.. bigger battery, better cooling, USB-C charging.
    Reply
  • Spikke - Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - link

    I have the 2020 base model with 2070 Max-Q as well. The primary contributing factor of the insane temps was the cpu turbo boost. I disabled that in the BIOS and my peak CPU temp dropped by a little over 20 degrees Celcius while gaming, made a huge difference in overall temps with very little impact to frame rates. Try disabling that and see what kind of difference it makes. Reply
  • Matthias B V - Thursday, March 11, 2021 - link

    Really don't understand the use of a 360hz Display. 144Hz great, maybe 240 but anything above is useless - At least on a notebook. And then it is not even bright. Lenovo does a much better job in their Legion 7i where they offer 500 Nits HDR400 240hz display.

    Anyway would wait for at least for the mid / late 2021 version of the Blade 15 that might come with TigerLake. Comet-Lake is crap and part of the reason runtimes are so bad. Also would prefer a 95Wh battery rather than the 80Wh.

    Used to have a Blade 15 Advanced with a 2080 Super but returned it for above reasons. Maybe I give it a try with Alder/MeteorLake + RTX40xx Lovelace as it is on 5nm [No fan of Samsung 10/8nm. Their 7nm EUV would have been ok] and in combination with the much better CPU should provide massive increases in performance and runtime!
    Reply
  • Zensation - Thursday, March 11, 2021 - link

    I wish I could post ever email I have, the entire 50 something long list that backdated this comment of absolute crap im having to put up with because their piece of crap blade 15 motherboard failed on the second day of ownership on my 2021 model. I have a 2020 advanced model I bought less than a year ago which the battery has swelled and bent the case to the point of not even being able to use the track pad. Their customer service and product in my opinion is of the lowest grade trash. This was actually purchased on a corporate account as well so guess what now the entire corporation has black balled razer good riddance. Steer absolutely clear of this POS. Yes I registered an account just to call this pos company out. Reply
  • Tomatotech - Friday, March 12, 2021 - link

    If I was looking at dropping $2200 on a laptop, I’d be comparing this to a MacBook Pro. Runs all of Windows, MacOS and Linux perfectly fine, good battery, amazing resale price making it possibly considerably cheaper than the Razer overall.

    Graphics not so good but it’s for work not play.

    The MacBook Pro is in a funny place right now. The current 16” model runs Windows but you get the overheating power hungry Intel chip. Later this year the new Apple Silicon model will come out and is widely expected to be a giant leap forward for power, battery life, and graphics. As yet there is no indication if it will run Windows though. A cloud-based Windows VM might be a useful backup for using the odd application, or Apple / Microsoft might work out something around Windows on ARM, it’s still unknown.
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Friday, March 12, 2021 - link

    You should also compare a panasonic toughbook, since they are also in the same price range. Reply
  • scineram - Friday, March 12, 2021 - link

    Not Cézanne, not interesting. Reply
  • ciparis - Friday, March 12, 2021 - link

    Intel in a laptop in 2021? I'm sorry Razer, but no sale. Reply
  • gijames1225 - Friday, March 12, 2021 - link

    I've convinced my employer to get me a Rog G14 as my next developer laptop. I'd sell them on one of these instead if I could get one with a 8 core Ryzen processor, but no dice. I just don't see why anybody would go with hex-core i7 when you can get 5800H in the same price bracket, if not cheaper. Reply

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